SOUTH TAHOE, Calif. - The Carson baseball team fought tooth and nail for the better part of 20 innings over two days against the South Tahoe Vikings before it scored 12 runs over the last three innings of its Friday doubleheader at Todd Fields, to put away its opponent with a 13-3 win in the nightcap.
A David Lied home run in the fifth inning sparked a Carson rally in the first game, which the Senators also won, 5-3.
"We played them tough most of the (second) game until the last inning," said South Tahoe coach Matt Tillson. "They're a good team. They're well coached. They made all the right moves. They were some hard-fought victories."
Carson coach Steve Cook was quick to agree.
"They gave us all we could handle for 20, 21 innings," Cook said of the Vikings. "They were real tough. That first game we had to scramble to manufacture some runs. It was the same thing in the second game until the last inning. We got runs in bunches."
Carson, in second place in the Sierra League, improved to 15-3 overall and 13-2 in league. The Vikings, who played their first three home games this year, dipped to 3-14, 2-13.
Including a 12-4 non-conference victory on March 9, Carson swept all four games from South Tahoe.
"Sweeping these guys was good," Cook said. "Taking two of three would be good. I'm happy with the way the weekend ended up. We have some good momentum heading into our Easter Tournament."
Carson had to come from behind in both games - twice in the first contest.
Carson shortstop Kevin Schlange, a South Tahoe transfer, endured chants of "Traitor" from the Vikings dugout and reached base with a double in the second inning. Schlange scored on a throwing error to tie the game 1-1 after South Tahoe shortstop Jaime Moore's single put the Vikings up 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
After South Tahoe's right fielder Zach Kropf scored on a throwing error in the third, Leid put Carson ahead for good with a monster shot to dead center, which struck the centerfield light pole - which is 360 feet out - about 20 feet up.
The shot brought home catcher Brooks Greenlee, who had walked, and it gave Carson the 3-2 lead. Greenlee also threw three batters out at second base.
Cook had taken slugger Logan Parsley out of the lineup because of a shoulder injury and replaced him in the fifth with Leid, who made the most of his opportunity. The switch was one of several Cook made throughout the first game.
"Dave has a lot of pop in his bat," Cook said. "We're looking for him to be more consistent. He knew he'd have some at-bats. That first AB (Leid finished 1-for-2) he saw a good fastball down the middle. He crushed that ball."
Second baseman Markus Adams had a good game as well, finishing 3-for-3, with one RBI. He drove in left fielder Jeremiah Teeter with a single in the sixth to give the Senators a 4-2 advantage. Schlange, who went 2-for-3, doubled in Greenlee in the seventh.
Jack Jacquet took the win, going 6 1/3 innings for Carson, allowing three runs, spreading out eight hits and walking two, while striking out three. Nick Smallman came in with a 5-3 lead and two runners on base.
Smallman struck out Kropf and caused Stephen Yarrow to pop up to second to end the game and earn the save.
Yarrow took the loss for the Vikings, going 6 2/3. He allowed five runs on nine hits, walking four and striking out five. Kropf gave up one hit, facing two batters.
"We had to change the pace," Cook said of his lineup changes. "We had some energy in the dugout. I saw the same thing Thursday - we had some low energy. We were going through the motions. I put some kids in who did a good job for us."
Cook started Kyle Mandoki on the mound in the second game and got 116 pitches out of his junior in a complete game effort. Mandoki allowed three runs on seven hits. He also walked six and struck out four.
"Kyle's been struggling a little the last couple of weeks," Cook said. "He was pretty focused today. We planned on using Smallman, but we had to use him in game two (the first game on Friday). I never lost confidence in what Kyle can do for us. He had a solid performance and was still throwing hard that last inning.
"I went out to the mound and made sure he was OK and he said he felt fine and wanted to finish it. In five days he'll be on the hill again."
Carson again fell behind early when South Tahoe left fielder Bo Hallam scored on a fielder's choice in the bottom of the second. But Schlange tied it 1-1 in the next inning, scoring on a throwing error.
A David Schue single brought in Hallam and gave South Tahoe its last lead - 2-1 - in the fourth.
The Senators had a five-run fifth to pretty much put the game out of reach. Jacquet (2-for-4) belted a 350-foot, two-run homer to left, second baseman Sean Costella (2-for-3) had an RBI-single, Smallman hit an RBI-double and pinch hitter Tony Fagan had an RBI-single to give Carson a commanding 6-2 lead.
Schue scored on a passed ball to close the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, but Carson put it away with its seven-run seventh.
The Senators brought 12 batters to the plate in the last inning and got six of its 14 hits in that span. Pinch hitter Chris Ames scored two with his single to right, Leid, pinch hitter Rob Valerius and first baseman T.J. Hein each had an RBI-single, and pinch hitter Bryt Lewis (2-for-2) hit a blooper to center to bring in two more for the insurmountable 13-3 lead.
Schue lasted 4 2/3 for South Tahoe, Kropf 2 1/3 and Andrew Stuck a third.
"We kind of had to get guys into the game - and not for just token at-bats," Cook said of his second-game lineup changes. "We had to change the pace a little. They dida great job getting on and getting base hits. They ran the bases hard. They accept their roles."
Carson will play in the Righetti Tournament in Santa Maria, Calif., from Wednesday through Thursday. It will play Wooster in its next league action.
•Contact Mike Houser at email@example.com or 881-1220